The following is a personal piece, by Harsh Thakor, in support of a Kobad Ghandy Interview, that was heavily criticized by Comrade KN Ramchandran. Ramchandran wrote a piece that blasted Ghandy. Thakor and some other comrades feel this criticism needs to be refuted:
COMRADE KN RAMACHANDRAN IS AVERY GOOD PERSON, SUPPORTIVE OF PROGRESS, BUT HIS VIEWS ON THE KOBAD GHANDY INTERVIEW MUST BE REFUTED AT THE CORE TO SAVE ESSENCE OF LENINISM AND MAO THOUGHT. BOTH ARE IDEALISTIC AND HAVE TO BE IDEOLOGICALLY REFUTED!
In his evaluation he has no praise for the achievements of the Maoist forces for building mass organisations earlier in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. He simply uses Ghandy's revelations to substantiate the views and practice of his organisation, the Communist Party of India(Marxist-Leninist) Red Star. By classifying Maoists as Lin Biaoist he is not only slandering them but attacking the very Communist Party of China led by Chairman Mao as Lin Biaoist. KN claims to defend Leninism but his party's thesis of neo-colonialism and evaluating even Lenin to have not given it due respect, is not in resonance with Leninism. He completely derides thesis of path of New Democratic Revolution or protracted peoples war path written by Comrades like DV Rao.Even if one does not support line of the Peoples War group on the field it took revolutionary democratic resistance of the opresesd to magnitude as no other force. Even some of my colleagues who differed with their line from different streams agreed with this. KN failed to highlight that it was the errors in their military line that caused the setback, with lack of the subjective factor and the improper practice within mass organisations, with imposition of party line. KN fails to respect Ghandy's emphasis on humanism within Socialism which was neglected in Russia and China and how psychology was an integral part of Marxism. KN should have at least praised Ghandy as a crusader against fascism. KN virtually throws scorn on Ghandy's highlighting humanism but calls on the Maoists to withdraw their struggle in the forests and ascribes them as Narodniks.
This would completely destroy the backbone of the Adivasis movement in Bastar. He mocks writers like Arundhati Roy who are not Marxists, but portray the humanistic element of the Maoists, like many Gandhians. KN fails to reflect that it is the Maoists within the Communist camp who have put greatest accent on integrating factor of caste and Ambedkarites. KN literally mocks the tortuous path Kobad undertook and the respect he had for his late wife Anuradha.He made no mention of the role of All India Peoples Resistance Forum which was formed in the 1990’s or contribution of mass fronts like Revolutionary Writers Association, or Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union. I wish he delved into how much the C.P.I. (M.L.) Red Star delved into revisionist path and has advocated almost class collaborationist united front in confronting Saffron neo-fascism, echoing the line of revisionist parties. His group has resorted to complete open functioning like revisionist parties. KN has not a word for Comrades like Ajith who are waging a crusade against Brahmanical fascism, but still supportive of the Maoist Movement. Ramachandran’s view here is in complete contravention with writers like Arundhati Roy or Intellectuals like Bernard De Mello, Professor Amit Bhattacharya, Arundhati Roy and Gautam Navlakha. Even those not recognising Maoism as Leninism like Ashim Roy who are hard core Stalinists (Joseph Stalin) praise the work of the Maoists. I can name countless non–Marxists and non–Maoists who recognise the contribution of the Maoists. I would also loved to have seen an article refuting KN Ramchandran by late Nicholas Glais, of Democracy and Class Struggle blog. KN Ramachandran forgets the writers like Robert Weil in ‘Is the Torch Passing’ and Amita Bhaattcharya in ‘Storming the Gates of Heaven.’. The latter book is partisan with Maoist even if informative but Robert Weil even tough pointing shortcomings highlights how the Maoist are preparing for a fourth stage, that is transcending boundaries of strategy of peoples war. KN reprimands Kobad for seeking wrong path through joining rank s of the Peoples War Group. No doubt it may have faltered on mass line and been vitiated by left adventurism but it made a most correct analysis of India being semi-colonial anad semi-feudal and lit the spark of agrarian armed struggle. It also built strongest mass organisations, if democratic functioning was weak. There would never have been an Anuradha or Kobad Gjandy blossoming like a lotus without guidance from the Peoples War Group. PWG galvanised more revolutionary cadre than any force. Some of the bests sons of our land like jailed Professor G.N Saibaba are creatures of this very trend. Their ranks comprised the most positive, revolutionary inclined and determined cadre in the view of late Sundar Navalkar. The movement built by the Red Flag Group led by K N Ramchandran never built a movement anywhere near it. I somehow contemplate what would have been the fate of Kobad if he had joined the ranks of the mass line of the T Nagi Reddy variety culminating into the CCRI and later the CPRCI)ML). It was the weakness of this trend in not having the creativity to consolidate and win over cadres who were swayed by revolutionary heroism of squad actions. I question why such groups could not win over cadre like Kobad Ghandy. Ghandy should be asessed with correct Leninist methodology. I wish that KN had referred to mass organization pursuing mass line like Punjab Students Union in the 1970's and Democratic Students Organization or Peoples Literary and Cultural Federation. and the ideolgical political struggle waged by Nagi Reddy streams like Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India that later merged into the CPRCI(M.L.). Infact I demand a polemic written by the Communist Party Re-Organisation Centre of India (Marxist Leninist) refuting the criticism of Comrade KN Ramchandran on Kobadh Ghandy's writings and interview and on those of Kobad Ghandy itself. That would touch most upon the aspect of mass line and delayed re-organisation of the party. Today more than critiquing Left Adventurism, right opportunism has to be confronted which seeks opportunistic alliances to defeat fascism, which has even infected the Maoist camp. An ideological tirade has to be launched against post-modernist ideas or thinkers like Louis Althusser, (Slavoj) Zizek, Alan Badiou etc.
Today there is more ideological disarray within the non-Maoist camp in India which is splintered like many pieces of a cake. Intellectuals should wage a much more fierce ideological struggle against the rightist deviations, influence of post-modernism and non–proletarian ideas within the Non–Maoist camp, than against left sectarian or adventurists vitamins within that of the Maoists. KN Ramachandran forgets the writers like Robert Weil in ‘Is the Torch Passing’ and Amita Bhaattcharya in ‘Storming the Gates of Heaven.’ The latter book is partisan with Maoist even if informative, but Robert Weil even tough pointing shortcomings highlights how the Maoist are preparing for a fourth stage, that is transcending boundaries of strategy of people’s war. KN fails to see the feudalism still prevalent in tribal regions or the contradictions on Adivasi areas. No doubt Maoists have made mistakes through extortions but have also at an unprecedented magnitude resisted the oppression of contractors and moneylenders and paved the pat for Adivasis to win essential rights. He also fails to see India’s important similarities with China in terms of terrain and agrarian relations. There is vast difference between plain and forest areas and between landless or poor peasantry and dalits. The bourgeois democratic parliament is merely a moral facade. No doubt India has feudalism distinctive from China with much more influence and control of imperialism earlier in pre-revolution days and much more developed towns and transport and telecommunication network and the nature of people’s war will differ. However KN merely advocates path of mass revolutionary mobilisation and becoming part of parliamentary process today. Even if suppressed and not completely coherent with mass line numerous mass fronts backing the Maoists have done most commendable work in all spheres resisting neo-fascism be it in West Bengal, Delhi, Jharkhand, Kerala or Telengana. Today forums like Bhagat Singh Morcha and Inquilabi Chatra Morcha in Uttar Pradesh and Towards a New Dawn journal in Bengal refelect this. In the early 1990’s I was a great admirer of the work of KN Ramchandran led group where pages of Red Star were dipped confronting sectarianism, promoting unity and developing Bolshevism. In that time I found few groups more positive than what was called C.P.I.(M.L) Red Flag. However post-1993 it took a rightist turn. Today even if a progressive force I very much doubt it is part of the genuine Communist revolutionary camp. It hardly has a concrete agenda of revolutionary alternative and is veering towards the path of the reformist left. I still admire the progressive articles in Red Star on caste question and fascism but its pages do not portray most eclectic political line. Today C.P.I (M.L) wishes to entangle itself within the parliamentary morass, whatever its progressive intentions. Path of agrarian revolution and New Democratic strategy has been thrown into the dustbin. EVALUATION OF KOBAD GHANDY Personally I respect Kobad for imbibing Freudian ideas as study of human behaviour is an integral part of Marxism. Still at important junctures Freud would have to ne refuted when he claims Human relations are only about sex instinct. I feel Ghandy missed out on the ideas of Carl Jung who was convinced every problem in essence was a spiritual one. No revolution can be won without an inner spiritual change ,which was morally shown in Russia, China, Vietnam or Cuba. Still Ghandy in my view should have thrown light on the historical changes of globalisation that tried to bury Marxism and not fo und fault with the ideology of Communism itself.
It is in absolute contrast to late Sushil Roy who felt Bolshevisation of the party was very weak and thus looseness was created. Ghandy to me runs down Marxism and the organised movement by claiming youth in Andhra or Telengana are politically apathetic. He is critical of dogma but is very general and hardly touches on aspects of mass line or introspect into fundamental aspects of Marxism- Leninism. To me his criticism of lack of proletariat is immature if you analyse the destructiveness of globalisation .By claiming Communist ideology has received a major setback he is doing no justice to the great achievements in the past Socialist Societies like Russia and China, albeit the grave errors. Ghandy does not delve into the root cause of the setbacks. I very much doubt his late wife Anuradha Ghandy would have endorsed his views which are inclined towards post modernism. Kobad echoed the views of Che Guevera and in some of his writing s ressurected Che's vision of transforming the inner essence of man. Kobad's emphasis on the subconscious has vital importance as it penetrates the spiritual aspirations of the oppressed. Kobad re-enforces my view that only 2 line struggle within a Communist party like that in the Cultural Revolution can save a socialist state or convert it into a Communistic one.KN should have at least praised Ghandy as a crusader against fascism. Where Kobad is eclectic is when he brings everything back to the individual as the centre. His reflections are pertinent in ho even Maoist cadre do not have sufficient political education who he encountered first hand in jails. However Ghandy fails to highlight the aspect of the mass line. On failure of Communism he praises China under Mao and achievements of the Cultural Revolution in China but shows scant respect for the concept of the Leninist party. Instead of defending the achievements of Socialist Russia till 1956 and China till 1976. Kobad instills sheer pessimism into a Communist cadre. I wish he spoke about Grover Furr's revelations of Russia under Stalin, whatever the gross errors of Stalin, and referred to the work of intellectual sin recent times in defending the Cultural Revolution. Ghandy also undermines concept of democratic centralism. Most significant some genuinely leftists\ cadre raised questions on his writings. Ghandy is relevant when he narrates the psychology of individualism of workers who find escapist routes and bear the same culture or orientation of the opressor classes. In day to day life I can recount thousands of time when I could witness ho psychology is influenced by the culture of individualism .At the airport I remember trolley retriever cueing for tips and involved in smuggling. In transport industry rickshaw drivers more than often over charge customers. We have to ask ourselves why so many industrial workers do not join the ranks of the organised movement and how even oppressed masses are swayed by Communal politics. Permanent workers don’t even side with contract workers. The social media has completely entrapped the minds of youth today worth imperialist culture. His points make me probe into why so many cadres are lost to revolutionary organisations or the movement and the current that is obstructing any new roses to bloom. I somehow contemplate what would have been the fate of Kobad if he had joined the ranks of the mass line of the T Nagi Reddy variety culminating into the CCRI and later the CPRCI) ML) .It was the weakness of this trend in not having the creativity to consolidate and win over cadres who were swayed by revolutionary heroism of squad actions.
I question why such groups could not win over cadre like Kobad Ghandy. Without doubt Comrade Ghandy has taught us a lot about the weaknesses inherent in the Communist Movement and tapping on issues of the individual subconscious. He teaches us that even the Leninist party is not the be it all for revolutionary democracy to reach a pinnacle and how Socialist societies and armed movements neglected the spiritual aspect .In many ways Kobad reminds me of late Punjabi revolutionary writer Satnam and the Post-Maoist philosopher Joshua Moufawad Paul. I would still rate Ghandy far more progressive than an ideologue like KN Ramchandran ,as he aspires to create a more democratic party ,taking the experiences of the Chinese Cultural Revolution as a standpoint. They are making a more progressive critique of Stalinism. In many ways Ghandy’s eclectic thinking today is a product of the loopholes prevailing within the Communist Movement. Past Socialist Societies neglected libertarianism but that should not be allowed to upset the tide of the organised movement. I would rank Kobad Ghandy as more progressive than K N Ramchandran today. Both wish to incorporate post modernist ideas. Kobad is the by–product of the liberal influence within Maoism while KN today is a product who cannot assess Maoism as a higher stage of Leninism. The organised movement must be critical of both trends.